Operation Barbarossa, as a historical event, should not need much of an introduction. It was the largest invasion in the history of warfare, part of the largest military confrontation of all time. The nature of the operation, and its actual historical flow, are perfectly suited for the Unity of Command system. We always knew we were going to do it eventually.
Still, it took us full two years, from the game’s original release in 2011, to complete the Eastern Front trilogy with a Barbarossa campaign. For me at least, it was worth the wait. The scenarios, designed mostly by Pieter de Jong (aka ComradeP), are some of the best in the series. The campaign is longer than “Stalingrad Campaign” and it flows more naturally from easier to harder, as the fortunes of war change for the invading Wehrmacht.
Here is a pair of quotes from German generals that give you the best indication of the shift in their mood between the summer and the winter of 1941. Will the same happen to you, in command of the virtual counterparts of these very same forces?
“It is no exaggeration to say that the Russian campaign has been won in fourteen days.”, Franz Halder, July 3, 1941.
“We have seriously underestimated the Russians, the extent of their country and the treachery of their climate. This is the revenge of reality.”, Heinz Guderian, November 9, 1941.
So, we go from the dramatic early victories all the way to ignominious defeat at the gates of Moscow? Well, yes and no. Certainly, we like to stick to history, and the first 10 scenarios of the Axis campaign take you from the violent frontier battles, through epic moments like the Kiev Encirclement, all the way to Taifun, the final German assault on Moscow.
This final historical scenario is an 18-turn, 200-unit behemoth that is rated “hard” to boot. You may as well lose here, but then, the Germans didn’t win either. In case you do manage to take Moscow however, there are two further what-if scenarios. There’s no point in spoiling this for anybody so just briefly: the what-ifs are challenging and only slightly ahistorical. We’ve also made the point of doing some novel things with the AI there, as an indication of what lies in the future for 2×2 games.
The story of the 1941 campaign wouldn’t be complete without a telling of the Soviet counterblows that followed. The Moscow Offensive, in December 1941, is when the Red Army finally relieved the pressure on the capital. What followed immediately afterwards was the January Offensive (of 1942), a typically ambitious attempt to encircle and destroy most of German Army Group Center. It wasn’t a success for the Soviets, but rather a bitter and confused struggle that ultimately resulted in the creation of the famous Rzhev salient. Can you do one better for the Motherland?
Black Turn DLC is the second downloadable content pack for “Unity of Command”. It will be released on Dec 10, 2013. and available both directly from our site (where you also get a Steam key) and through our usual distributors. It will be the final Unity of Command DLC, except maybe for community content (we are ready to help in completing the map for use with community scenarios, provided there’s enough interest out there).
There’s about a month still left to go before the release. Plenty of time to dust off those old copies of Unity of Command and Red Turn, give them a spin (or ten), and make sure your command skills are in top shape on December 10th.